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Measuring Up: How Our Culture's Obsession With Porn-Sized Penises Hurts Men

American culture sends men and boys harmful messages about the penis, which can lead to terribly skewed -- and harmful -- expectations.

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Further, the popularity of hyper-realistic “amateur” porn presents a further conundrum (via GirlFriend videos or “college” style porn that gained popularity with sites like Dare Dorm). This porn promises “real men”...who all just happen to have porn-size cocks. Boys are inundated with unhealthy images about size, without decent sex ed to counter these pernicious messages. They are rarely told how little size has to do with actual sexual pleasure.

As sex-positive feminism has spread across American culture, more women then ever are owning their desires. That's great, but at times this has a dark side, as many women are increasingly also turning the tables to objectify men, from the universal girl-culture anthem in Salt n’ Pepa’s rapping (“You're a shotgun -- bang! What's up with that thang? I wanna know how does it hang?”) to a party for a new lady porn magazine I attended last weekend, where guys showed their dicks to get in the door. Later they were judged (by a bevy of straight females) in a “wet dick contest."

According to Simpson: “Women are now much more demanding, more critical, and more fetishistic about their male partners than they were in the past. They’re still nothing like as critical as say gay men, but much more than, say their mothers. Women are now much more likely to expect the male body to offer them pleasure, physical and visual.”

Race adds a whole other galaxy of issues and expectations of penis size. The pressure to “measure up” also presents itself uniquely in black culture. The wives-tale we’ve all heard about penises is that 1) shoe size correlates; and 2) black men have the biggest pair to fill. 

Studies have shown again and again that the race myth is not true, even revisited recently by Drs. Kevan Wylie and Ian Eardley, who set out to debunk penis myths. Yet according to a survey by Trojan, black men account for 22 percent of all condom purchases, and 40 percent of Magnum purchases, the brand’s “XXL” size condom. It sheds new light on female rapper Remy Ma’s line: “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a baggy Magnum.” A post from a woman on the forum ManandWife.tv extrapolates:

“Why does every black man think they can wear Magnum Condoms? They have them up on their walls as memorabilia. They pull them out at clubs thinking broads are going to jump for joy...why?” 

One response reads: “I had sex with a friend.. and wondered what was going on with him putting on the condom...after he finally got it right he was holding it the whole time during sex...I look at the floor and see an empty Magnum wrapper! He was far from needing a Magnum! Women, we are partly responsible, sometimes blow our men up when it's less than perfect.”

In their study, Wylie and Eardley discovered that 12 percent of men thought their penises were too small. This has been called "locker room syndrome” or penile dysmorphic disorder. Wylie and Eardley calculate that an actual micropenis is 2.75 inches or less erect. But many men seem to remain deluded, and perhaps for good reason--Google brings up several stats for micropenises and Wiki lists micropenises as 2.5 inches smaller than average--but which average? 

If the subject lines in your spam folder didn’t tip you off -- “My 8-year-old brother has one like that!”--penis enlargement is big business. There are endless amounts of pills, creams and pumps that all promise to “add inches.” Not only do these items not work, according to the American Urological Association (AUA), many of them are dangerous. According to research from the University of Maryland, creams and pills have been reported to contain harmful  moldyeastE. colibacteriapesticides, and lead. They also contain high amounts of feces--which Dr. Michael Donnenberg guesses are from raccoons and other animals “possibly grazing near the plants harvested for herbal ingredients."

 
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